There’s a really evil, sinister feeling to the music

Evocation

Photo By Daniel Falk

Hey bro!

Good evening!

Good evening to you too sir!

*laughs* Better late than never!

Yeah, sorry about the delay here. We had a total chaos day today with our release party show, which is scheduled for Saturday here in our hometown. Today we found out that the club where we’re going to have it, they got their alcohol permit revoked by the community here, so we are desperately trying to find a solution to do the show this Saturday! Perhaps at some other venue or something, but right now we are still in Limbo, so to speak. We don’t have any solution at the moment, but hopefully later tonight we will have some solution here. But right now, it’s just chaos *laughs*

You can’t have a release show without alcohol man!

Unfortunately that is the case. Our audience here in our hometown are mostly the same age as us. There are lots of old friends of ours, and whenever they go out to watch a show or anything like that, they want to grab a beer, you know? And watch music. So I don’t think it would be an option to do it without alcohol, unfortunately.

No. You even have your own beer now, so it would be a big downer if you couldn’t present your own beer there!

Yeah, that is absolutely right.

Anyhow, glad you are here! Thank you for taking the time to talk to us!

No problems!

Other than chaotic with the release show, how are things in your world?

Well, I would say it’s quite good at the moment. The response to the new album has been quite amazing I think. I think we have some really, really nice reviews on the album, and I’m just really happy that we managed to do such a great album, after all the downsides we had with Evocation as well. After the previous album, when we lost Janne and Vesa and so on, yeah. But right now, everything besides the release show is quite great, I would say *laughs*

*laughs* So, if that last little problem is solved, then you’re in a really great place at the moment!

Absolutely, absolutely.

I really love the album myself. If I listen to it and I close my eyes, I get visions of walls of death and circle pits! Was that something you set out to do with this album?

A wall of death, did you say that?

Yeah *laughs*. Circle pits, walls of death, that’s what I see when I listen to this music!

Aaah. Okay, okay, cool! I mean, the goal for the album was to make the most dark and sinister Evocation album that we’ve ever done, and I think we managed to do that quite well. The music has a really evil spirit to it, and it’s quite brutal I would say, the music. And there are melodies, but the melodies on the album are really, really melancholic and dark. It’s also weighed up with quite brutal Death Metal stuff. So yeah, there’s a really evil, sinister feeling to the music, but also the cover artwork I would say, turned out to be the best Evocation cover art that we’ve ever had I think. It really captures the feeling of the album title. I think that one reasons that our cover artist Xaay managed to get it so well, was because he actually did a paper about the shadow archetype theory at the university, some years before he did this artwork for us, so when I presented the idea to him, about the shadow archetype, he instantly got a really good feeling about this and knew exactly what it was about. He said he could do something really amazing with it, and it indeed turned out amazing!

He really did a great job there, absolutely. When I first thought the picture, I thought it looked like Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy blowing his brains out with a gun or something! *laughs*

*laughs* Yeah, I’ve heard some other people that saw that resemblance as well, about Groot. But it’s a much more evil version of Groot I would say *laughs.

Oh yeah, absolutely. You mentioned melodies, and I mentioned walls of death. In the song “Blind Obedience”, I think, that’s one of the songs where you have the melodies. That would be an awesome wall of death song!

Oh yeah, for sure, but if we use that Blind Obedience part anywhere live, it would be as a pre-recorded thing, you know? Doing that from the PA. We’re not going to play it live, because there are quite some different guitar harmonies put into that piece, and it would be really difficult to perform that live. Of course it would be possible, but it  sounds really great on the album I think, so if we use it live, it will just be played back.

It’s a bit of a shame, I really loved it! It’s a nice calm before the storm, I think!

Yeah, yeah absolutely. And the track after that, “Survival Of The Sickest” is the contrast between the intro so to say. “Blind Obedience” is a sort of intro to “Survival Of The Sickest”. The contrast between those two is quite brutal. The first is such a nice, beautiful, yet melancholic melody, and then comes “Survival Of The Sickest”, which is really, really brutal. The contrast is really great, I think!

Yeah I really loved the contrast overall on this album. This album has been a long time in the making, mainly I guess because of the personnel changes after Janne and Vesa left?

Yes, that’s right. When they left, there was actually a moment there where I was contemplating whether we should bury the band for good or not, but after a few weeks we decided that we should continue. During those weeks, this feeling started growing inside of me, that we still have stuff to achieve with the band, and it felt like we still have the greatest album within us. Anyway, when we decided that we were going to do another album, we  also said that we were going to take all the time necessary, in order to make the best Evocation album we have ever done. So we didn’t set any deadline or anything like that. We just worked, and worked, and worked, until we felt that it was perfect. Also, the previous label that we worked with, Century Media, we were between contracts so to speak. Our contract with them ended, so we didn’t have any pressure on us at all, from any label either.

So we just felt we could take whatever time necessary to make the next album, and for us it was also a well deserved break, so to speak. Before this album, we have delivered four full length albums and a demo compilation, within a five year timespan. It was just brutally hectic. We just worked and worked. I think that might also be one of the reasons why Janne and Vesa quit as well, they were a bit burned out by the schedule, and by all the work that was put into Evocation. We felt that we needed a well deserved break, and I think the audience needed one as well. You can’t just shove new Death Metal tracks down their throats every year.

*laughs* Some would disagree there!

*laughs* Yeah, perhaps. I think it was a well deserved break for both us and our fans. I think it was a good decision.

I think so as well. It really shows on the album that you took your time to write these songs! So, if you look back at the last four years, how were these years for you? How did you experience them?

It was a great, well deserved break as I said. We got the possibility to catch up with other stuff. I mean, we also have families. Me and Simon now have families, I have two kids, and they also deserve time together with their daddy. So we got a lot of time with our families and so on, and that felt really great, and the songwriting process during these years was also really, really smooth. Me and simon did all the music together, we had a really great time doing that. There were never any bad feelings or arguments, or anything like that. We just shared the same visions and goals for the album, and the cooperation between us was just really amazing. There was never a time that I thought it was boring to meet up with Simon and start writing tracks or anything like that. It was just a really great time I would say.

A very natural process then, yeah. After the brothers left, in what ways would you say your own creative process changed?

I think for this album the whole band was sort of involved in the creation of the album. As I said, me and Simon did all the music, but all the time we asked for input from both Thomas and Gustaf. They listened to the tracks, and they had input like perhaps we should change or do something different there, things like that. And then me and Simon went back to the writing board and rewrote some stuff, so everybody was sort of involved. Thomas did all the lyrics and Gustaf did all the bass lines for the album, so everybody was sort of involved in the process. I think it was a really smooth process. Previously, when the brothers were involved, much of the stuff was written separately, you know? I wrote some stuff, Vesa wrote some stuff, Janne wrote some stuff, and there wasn’t as much involvement together in the whole process, so I would say that this one has a real band or group effort, and it felt really great. I really loved writing this album.

Yeah. So you could say that you made this beautiful brutal baby as a group effort. I like that.

*laughs* Yeah, absolutely.

I really loved the feel of “The Shadow Archetype”. What can you tell us about the sound on the new record?

We have so much experience creating sound, with our previous albums. We’ve worked very much by ourselves when creating the sounds on the previous albums, so we are quite experienced with where we want to get the sound. And for this album, we sort of learned from all that experience on our previous albums, and somehow this album is the perfect Evocation album. For me, at least. I just love the sound and everything. It’s not too clean, not too polished, as I think for instance the “Illusions Of Grandeur” album, the previous album, when I go back and listen to that one, I feel that it’s too polished and too well produced. It lacks some raw, Death Metal energy so to speak. This album became a sort of reaction towards that. We drew experience from all those previous albums, and I think this one has the pure Evocation sound that we should have had on all the previous albums! *laughs* If I could go back and change anything on those previous albums, I would want to have this sound on all of them.

For instance, we worked on the guitar sound for about three or four weeks, just to get the perfect sound. At first we set the guitar sounds, and we started tracking. I think we did two or three tracks with that guitar sound, but then I felt that we weren’t there yet. There was still something missing in that guitar sound. It didn’t have that real Death Metal tone that I wanted. So, we went back, we tore everything down and started over from the beginning. A week later we found the guitar sound. At the moment it was a bit frustrating, because we put down a lot of work already on the guitar sound before we tore it all down, but when we set the final sound and we started recording, both me and Simon felt that, oh man, it was worth all the work, because it’s just perfect. Everything on the album, there are no compromises on any instrument. For me, everything is perfect.

Well, if you wouldn’t have taken the time, it would have just been this little itch that kept on itching, I think.

Yeah. But now I don’t want to change anything. I think it’s the perfect album!

Would you say that you have matured a lot as musicians, perhaps due to the fact that you took a few hiatuses with the band, and learned who you are privately yourself, in life?

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, back in the nineties for instance, when we took our long hiatus of 12 years, we were young, inexperienced, and of course immature as well. Then, twelve years later we had all grown up, and were much more mature. We could all agree on the direction of the music. I mean, in the nineties we had difficulties agreeing on what direction we should take with the music, that was why we took the long hiatus. We matured along the way, as people. Everything is much easier now that we’re adults, and not so impulsive and so on.

Yes, you can really hear that. I was wondering, when the band first broke up in ‘93, you stated it was due to creative differences, but what exactly were the differences back then?

I think it was just that some people in the band wanted to in a more softer direction with the music perhaps, and some wanted to go in a more brutal direction, and when we tried to somehow agree and make music, it all just sounded like shit. We all felt that we couldn’t release anything under the Evocation name that sounded like that, and it was better that we just put it on ice and see what happens in the future. Then we just matured during the years and somehow we just felt like yeah, this is the direction for Evocation, and everybody was on the train, and wanted to go in the same direction.

It must have been frustrating at that time. How do you look back at the decision back then, to disband the band for those reasons?

I think it was a good decision. I often get this question that if we regret it or something like that, because many of the bands that were active back in the day, together with us, like for instance Dark Tranquility, At The Gates and so on, they became quite big, and were able to live off their music afterwards. For me, I don’t regret it, because today Evocation and Death Metal is a pure passion. We have our daytime jobs that give us our salaries, and make it possible for us to pay the bills and so on, and as I said, we can spend as much time as we want on an album. For those bands that live off their music, they don’t have that possibility. They have to deliver an album every second year, and they have to go out touring, touring, touring in order to pay their bills. We don’t have to do that, we can spend as much time as we want on every album, in order to make it the perfect Evocation, the perfect Metal album, and we don’t have any pressure on us. Death Metal and Evocation are just a pure passion, and the day we feel we are bored with Death Metal and Evocation, or bored with music, we just call it quits. I would say that we have the perfect seat as it is.

Yeah. It’s a great place to be in, I think. I agree with you there. If you look at your earliest ‘92 demos, and then look at the just released album, what has always been there for you in Evocation?

Well, melancholic melodies have always been there. They are there on the first two demos as well. The groove. We have always had a lot of focus on making great tracks that have a lot of groove, and make the neck muscles want to start headbanging. I think that’s always been with us, and is still with us on our latest effort as well. Yeah, those two things.

Yes. The groove in your music really makes you want to move. I did wonder how that would translate to a live set. I think that these songs will absolutely rock when played live!

Absolutely. I’m really, really looking forward to playing the new stuff live now and see how the audience will react to it. *laughs* I mean, whenever I listen to the new tracks, I also get the urge to start headbanging! It’s just so groovy, I love it! And the comments that we have received from friends and fans that have listened to the album are the same. They say wow, this is a really, really great Evocation album, and it’s really, really groovy. I think it will translate really well to our live sets.

I couldn’t keep my head still while preparing for this interview, that’s a fact *laughs*.

*laughs* That’s cool!

Yeah. On the album you use two different samples. One on the title track, and one on the song right after, “Blind Obedience”. It’s a great fit! What are the songs about?

“The Shadow Archetype”, there’s a theory about that. It comes from Carl Gustav Jung. He was a Swiss psychologist who worked in the early twentieth century, and he had this theory about archetypes. He thought that human beings were not born as blank sheet of paper, or a tabula rasa. He thought that human beings inherited psychological structures that go thousands and thousands and thousands of years back, and that human beings are collectively inheriting these from generation to generation. The shadow archetype is one of these psychological structures, and it holds all the dark or evil sides of the human psyche.

The sample there from Stanley Milgram that we feature on the track, he was a professor in the US in the 1960’s, who did these famous experiments called “Obedience to authority”. During those experiments he made test subjects deliver electrical shocks to another person that was answering some questions. Whenever they answered wrong, the subject was supposed to give an electrical shock, and for each wrong answer they increased the voltage. It turned out almost all subjects delivered the highest voltage on this test, while the person that received the shocks… When they answered with a wrong answer, they were taped. They were screaming, and after a while they were all just quiet. As if they had died in the other room. The conclusion that was drawn from that experiment was that all human beings are able and capable of doing evil acts, as long as somebody else, an authority, takes responsibility for these evil acts, so to speak. Stanley Milgram thought that this was also a psychological mechanism, that was inherited from generation to generation. It’s a dangerous psychological mechanism that could possibly lead to the demise of the human race in the end.

That’s deep, and quite disturbing.

Yeah. So, anyway, the connection between that experiment and Jung’s psychological archetypes, and the shadow archetype, it confirms that there is a psychological mechanism that makes it possible for human beings to commit evil acts. It confirms what Jung also had in his theory, that human beings inherit psychological structures, and the shadow archetype is one of them, and it contains the evil side of the human psyche.

You only have to look at history to see that this whole principle is being abused.

Yes, absolutely. In Nazi Germany for instance, during the second world war, this principle was used, and some people were not educated, or did not have the knowledge. It’s wrong to say oh, this could only happen in Germany, Germans are evil and so on. This experiment very clearly shows that this is a universal psychological mechanism, that all human beings have. These experiments were done in the US, and they were done on women and men from different social classes and so on, and it was the same result with all subjects.

It’s a fundamental bug in the human operating system perhaps.

Yeah.

It’s very deep. It’s another sign that you have matured! *laughs*

*laughs* Yeah, I work as a psychologist as my daytime job, at a Swedish prison here in our hometown, and I’ve been working in prisons for nine years now as a psychologist. I’ve always had this interest for the evil side of psychology, and why human beings are capable of doing evil acts and so on. It’s a bit of an interest for me, and it’s quite an easy subject as well to write lyrics about. When I presented the idea to Thomas, he really liked it, and he did a lyric about this as well for the album.

Yes. The evil that men do, it’s very Metal.

Yeah! *laughs* Absolutely.

I also really loved your video for “Condemned To The Grave”, I looked at the depiction of the woman in the video and wondered, does anyone of you have girlfriend issues? *laughs*

*laughs* Yeah, well… It was Gustaf, our bass player, who came up with the screenplay for the video, so it’s his idea completely. It was sort of meant to be a humoristic way to picture the woman, to make it work in a screenplay, a video as well. I think it turned out really cool. Gustaf really put his soul in that screenplay, he worked day and night on it. Also all the stuff on the site where we recorded the video, like the mirrors he brought from the place where he studies. He’s studying to become a woodsman, working with wooden furniture and so on. He brought in a lot of stuff for that video, and really put a lot of soul into that.

I really had to laugh when I saw the two main characters walk away from the car, it’s classic!

*laughs* Yes. The man has to carry all the bags…

Yeah, and the woman was angry… yeah. *laughs*

*laughs* Absolutely.

And the cottage in the woods also gave it some real Evil Dead vibes! I was actually looking for the door to the cellar in the floor!

Yeah. It was a bit intentional as well. We wanted to have a bit of an Evil Dead feeling there as well.

Well, mission successful!

Thank you, thank you! I think it turned out really great, that video. But man, it was freezing when we did that video. It was minus one celsius or something like that, and we didn’t have anywhere to warm up, or anything like that. We were out there the entire day, ten or twelve hours, something like that at the set, just freezing our asses off, but in the end it was worth it. It turned out really great.

It adds something extra as well, when you see the breath freezing, and you see that the actors are actually cold. It’s a nice touch, actually.

Absolutely, I agree. It wouldn’t have been the same if it was done in the summer time.

Yeah, agreed. Once upon a time, Skogsberg named Evocation as the best demo band he had ever recorded.

Yeah, that’s right!

Once you heard that, didn’t that put some extra weight on your shoulders? You do have something to prove after that! *laughs*

Yeah, sure, absolutely! But I don’t know if we felt that pressure. Sure, I mean, we have always put a lot of pressure on ourselves in the band a whole lot. We always try to make a better album than the previous one, and if we can’t make a better album than the previous one, that day we will call it quits. Because we have the pride in our back catalog, we feel we can’t release anything that would be bad or anything like that. It has to be top notch every time we release something, otherwise we can call it quits.

Keep going up!

But when Skogsberg said that, it was a huge honor. I mean, Skogsberg is Skogsberg, he is the producer from the early nineties in some light. He is a legend in the scene! And to hear that from him, it’s a huge, huge honor for us. We’ve tried to live up to that as good as possible, I think!

Yeah, I think you did well.

Thank you, thank you!

When I listened to the album for the first time, and specifically the intro, it has a little guitar melody in the back, that for some reason really reminded me of Coolio’s Gangsta’s Paradise. That wasn’t an intentional easter egg, was it?

*laughs* That’s definitely a coincidence, because nobody in the band has mentioned that. That’s totally a coincidence. But there is another band I think, where there’s much more resemblance to, I would say, on that intro, from which we perhaps got a bit of inspiration for it. It’s The Haunted, actually. Which album was it again, the Revolver album? It has an intro that has a bit of that feeling as well to it, and it inspired us a bit.

It works really well for the album, it builds it up nicely!

Yes, thank you. I also think it’s a really great intro, it will be featured in our live set as well. We will use it as an intro for some of the tracks in our live appearances as well.

That will work, I’m sure! If you were to cooperate on a tribute album of your choosing, what band would you like to record a cover of?

We actually did a cover EP a few years ago, after the Illusions Of Grandeur album! And on that one we featured tracks from “At The Gates”, “Edge Of Sanity”, “Carcass”, “Bolt Thrower” and “Napalm Death”.

Alright, I must have missed that one!

Yeah. And that one, for me, do you remember that Garage Days EP that Metallica did in the ‘80s?

I do. They released it three times I think!

Yeah. But that original, the one that they did with Jason Newstedt, the $5.89 EP, Garage Days Re-Revisited.

Yes, with “Helpless” and “The Small Hours” on it.

Yeah, yeah, exactly. I think our EP has a bit of the same raw vibe to it, that the Garage Days EP has as well. We did it in a real sort of hurry, because we wanted to have a really brutal raw feeling to it. Everything is recorded perfectly, but there is just some extraordinary fucking raw vibe to it, I just love to listen to it today. I get the same vibe as Metallica had on their Garage Days EP.

So it’s like a perfect time capsule of that moment, in a way.

Absolutely. And we just had a great time doing it as well, in the studio. It was just great when we picked out all the tracks. We just went through our old record collections and listened to early Death Metal albums and so on, and found these five tracks that we wanted to do. Then, when we rehearsed them, it was just great fun as well. Then in the studio it was just relaxed, but there just was this raw feeling to everything. The mix, the recording, everything. You should really listen to it! I’m really proud of it!

I will! I can’t believe I missed it, so I know what I’m going to do once we’re done with this interview!

*laughs* Do you have Spotify?

Yeah, I do.

It’s available on Spotify!

Alright, then I really didn’t do my homework well enough *laughs*

*laughs* Yeah. The tracks that we recorded were “Terminal Spirit Disease” by “At The Gates”, “Enigma” by “Edge Of Sanity”, “You Suffer” by “Napalm Death”, “...For Victory” by “Bolt Thrower” and “Corporal Jigsaw Quandary” by Carcass.

Those are classics. Wow.

Yeah. I did the lead guitar. I don’t usually do so much lead guitar for Evocation, but I did the lead guitars on the Carcass track, “Corporal Jigsaw Quandary”. I did the Bill Steer solo there, and that was my Oscar performance, if you will *laughs*. I rehearsed for two or three months at home, almost every day, just to make that fucking lead guitar, and I did it. I am really proud of it, but I don’t think I’ll do it ever again *laughs*.

Now I really do have to listen to it *laughs*

Yes. Bill Steer is a great lead guitarist. It’s quite advanced stuff. For me, at least.

But you’ve shown you can pull it off then! So, I’ve mentioned this before, you have your own beer now! Where can I get some, and how does it taste!

I actually haven’t tasted it yet, but it’s an IPA, an India Pale Ale, and the only way to get it here in Sweden is… In Sweden we have these really weird alcohol laws. We have these shops called systemet ("the system") or bolaget ("the company"), and they are the only ones who are allowed to keep strong beer and liquor and spirits and so on. You can’t buy that stuff in ordinary shops. To get this beer you have to have an importer permit. It’s not difficult to do as a private person. You just go to the nearest systemet bolaget, and you fill out some papers, and then you may import those beers, and you get it delivered to your local store in about two weeks, or something like that. Then you can get hold of the beer. But yeah, it’s a really cool thing. It’s a brewery called “Wifetrap Brewery”. They are from my home town, and it’s a really good friend of ours, an old friend of the band, Jonas Eriksson is his name. He was actually the first rhythm guitarist for “Lake Of Tears”, have you heard of them?

I have heard of them, yeah!

They are also from our hometown here. Jonas was rhythm guitarist for them, and he’s been a friend of Evocation, ever since the early nineties. Nowadays he works with Wifetrap Brewery, and we approached him, if he would be able to make an Evocation beer, and he was all fired up immediately and said for sure! And now we have it!

Let’s hope it’s a brutal beer then!

Yeah absolutely, I hope so too! I will taste it in a few days, I hope.

If the licences are in order!

Yes.

Fingers crossed. How is your year going to look, tour wise?

At the moment, the only show confirmed right now is this release party show in our hometown. We haven’t really worked on getting live shows yet, because we haven’t had a full lineup with Evocation until now. The new drummer will be presented tomorrow, but I can present it to you because this interview won’t go online before that. Our new drummer is called Janne Jaloma, he has previously worked with bands like “Deals Death”, “Bloodshop Dawn” and “Despite”.

Alright!

He’s a youngster, he’s 26 years old, filled with energy and amazing technical skills, but also, most important, he has an amazing groove, which makes him a perfect fit for Evocation!

Yeah, you gotta have that groove!

Yes, that’s really important for us, from a drumming position. And Janne totally nails it. Also as a person he fits perfectly in the Evocation collective, and we have a really, really great time together with him. So yeah, this will be really fantastic, I think.

Yeah, that sounds perfect!

Yeah, and that’s also the reason why we haven’t been worked so hard on getting shows, because we haven’t had a full lineup until now. After this, we will start working on getting shows. We want to get out and play as many festivals as possible. Also, if it’s possible, go out on some European tour or something, that would be great as well, but for us it’s a little bit more difficult, since we have daytime jobs, and families to support, and so on. But if it all works out nicely, hopefully we will do a European tour as well.

Exactly. Do a nice little European summer vacation, like Metallica always does!

Yeah *laughs*. But another goal would be to come out and play some other territories that we haven’t played before. A dream would be to come and play in the US or something like that as well. We haven’t played a single show over there, so it would be awesome to play there as well.

Then it’s about time. I think you have already got a bit of a name there, you might just need to show up!

Absolutely.

So, do you hear that, promoters? Get these guys over there!

Absolutely. Just get us over! *laughs*

Exactly. Well I hope you get your summer program filled up, it’s a bit late in the game to start booking gigs for this summer though.

Yeah, I think this summer is too late, but there are indoor festivals in Autumn as well, and we are available for next summer as well, so yeah. We will do as many shows as possible.

Perfect! I’m looking forward to seeing you. I think these songs will rock live. That leads me to my last question, and that’s always, do you have any last words for our readers?

You’re from Holland right?

I’m in the Netherlands, but my team and my readers are from all over the globe!

I would say thank you for supporting Evocation, and I really, really hope that we will meet all of you readers out there on some show. Please come and talk to us, and have a beer with us. Let’s have a great time together and headbang, play some Death Metal!

Awesome words. And we will get that Evocation beer at some point.

*laughs* Absolutely.

Thanks for taking the time to talk to us, have a great night!

Thank you very much! You too, and thanks for the support!

Randy Gerritse